Destination wedding. Pandemonium. Enter Wendy Jacobs Hampton.
Her presence is a room-filling enigma. She’s lived here since 1982 (came as a Telluride Academy instructor), resides in Ophir with her family and skis constantly. And yet, she has a decidedly East-Coast demeanor and a voice that carries, suggesting she can, and will, get things done.
And that’s good, because on this day (Thursday) she has things to do: Her company Soirée Telluride, has two weddings on the books this weekend; an affair at Gray Head on Saturday and a wedding at the Ah Haa School on Sunday.
“I’m a planner by nature — that’s my way. You have to like to work with people, be the type of person who remains calm in stressful situations,” she said during an interview in which she coolly scanned her BlackBerry, waiting for those situations to materialize.
She was always the one planning the parties. Now, they are nicer parties and with more purpose, but the tasks remain the same: plan (for about a year), solve problems (how to get ice cubes to high mesas outside of town), and soothe angst-riddled brides (sometimes they call her at 3 a.m. because they think that gift baskets are missing chocolates).
She bought the business in 2000 with only a few weddings on its books. It has since bloomed into one of the best wedding-planning businesses in Colorado, according to the theknot.com. She has 11 weddings in 2010.
“I didn’t know a thing about wedding planning. I just faked it. And now, after all these years I have it down,” she said. “I’ve always thrown parties and been a planner type of person. It was something different after being a camp counselor.”
Her company is an event-planning business that specializes in weddings — a certain boon to the summer economy here. Jacobs Hampton is a sort of general contractor, wedding different services together into a wedding, be that ceremony on a far-flung mesa or in a historic Telluride building. “I’m not the most creative person, but I subcontract everybody,” she said. “Really, what I specialize in… is where I turn a blank slate, like a piece of property on a mesa, into a really beautiful wedding venue.”
She watches happiness more than lots of people, and certainly pulls something from it: “I love my job, so that makes me happy. And I do still, after all this time, get sentimental.”
Plus, the job allows her lots of time in the winter and spring to spend with her kids and ski. “I definitely was a Mak-M/Stairs/Plunge girl,” she said. “Now, I like all the new stuff.”
She is productive and disarming at the same time — a unique skill anywhere, let alone a small mountain town. “I’m the age of most brides, and so I relate to my clients,” she said. “I think that sets me apart. We tailor what we to do each client’s needs. When you hire Soirée Telluride, it’s full service event planning.”
That includes mini-crisis management. And a simple request of the men: “I just want the grooms to be on time.”
For more, visit www.telluridesoiree.com